Labor unrest, deception and union raids #
The highlights of the 1980s include: membership reaching 8,400; adoption of WSNA Bill of Rights; lobbying with others for comparable worth legislation; and another WSNA nurse member elected to the state legislature. WSNA also achieves recognition at the national level as a leader among state nurses associations and provides leadership for restructuring ANA as a modified Federation. Several WSNA leaders were elected to national office including Eunice Cole as ANA President. The overshadowing cloud, however, was the initial labor union raid of WSNA bargaining units, begun in 1983 by SEIU/1199-NW and which continued throughout the decade. In 1989, an internal raid began, executed by dissident staff, who stole the membership rosters and joined UFCW in raiding WSNA. At the end of the decade, these union raids had escalated to full scale war and WSNA sought help from its sister states and ANA in order to survive. These raids cost the Association more than a million and a half dollars and half of its membership. It is a credit to the perseverance and courage of the men and women who stayed with the association through this crisis and helped restore and rebuild it from within. It is also amazing that the work of the Association could go on throughout this time. Major advances occurred in spite of the crisis.
WSNA negotiates 35 contracts. The E&GW Program grows to 85 local units and more than 10,000 RNs represented for collective bargaining.
- WSNA adopts the “RN Bill of Rights.”
- First year of PUNCH (WSNA-PAC) candidate endorsements.
- WSNA secures passage of a bill that mandates the Health Care Contractors (Blue Shield/Blue Cross) reimburse nurses for their services if the Health Care Contractors would have paid a physician for the service.
- The Washington State Nurses Foundation (WSNF) is established. It’s primary purpose is to provide educational support through nursing scholarships and mentorship.
- Eunice Cole elected ANA president; Louise Shores elected ANA Treasurer.
- WSNA and WSMA jointly support successful legislation mandating the use of seat belts in automobiles.
- WSNA is instrumental in gaining recognition from the Department of Labor and Industries so that services provided by RN surgical first assists are reimbursable.
- WSNA is a founding member of the Committee for Affordable Health Care whose work led to the introduction and successful passage of the Washington Basic Health Plan.
- WSNA experiences its first “union raid” by 1199-NW at Group Health. This is followed by additional raids in Yakima, Harborview and several others.
- WSNA gains passage of Nurse-Patient Privilege Communications Bill after being reintroduced every year for seven years.
- Federal legislation establishing Diagnostic Related Groupings (DRGs) dramatically changes payments to hospitals.
- The State Board of Nursing adopts regulations requiring a Masters Degree for recognition as a CRN beginning in 1990. Current CRNs are grandfathered in and the CRN titile is changed to Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP).
- WSNA participates in a joint task force with the Washington State Board of Nursing on the chemically dependent nurse and develops a plan for 1988 legislation supporting a program to assist chemically dependent nurses and health care workers.
- Judy Huntington elected ANA 2nd vice-president.
- WSNA successfully lobbies for passage of the Nurse Forgivable Loan Program and for passage of the Nursing Assistant Law, introduced by WSNA, to ensure that nursing controls nursing practice and that the RCTs (Registered Care Technicians) as proposed by the American Medical Association, could not be established in Washington state.
- Two nurses run for election to the Washington State Legislature; WSNA member Margarita Prentice is elected to the House.
- WSNA along with other nursing organizations, develops a Master Plan for Nursing in Washington state.
- WSNA and ARNPs begin a decade of lobbying to complete Prescriptive authority for ARNPs by adding schedule II-IV authority.
- Dissident staff join UFCW and 1199-NW in raiding WSNA. WSNA loses nearly half its bargaining units and membership before the raids subside.